Ma'an News Agency
October 2, 2011 - 12:00am

BOGOTA (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas will visit UN Security Council member Colombia on October 11 to discuss his bid for UN member state status, President Juan Manuel Santos said.

"The Palestinian leader had planned to come to Central America and he proposed a visit. We said he would be welcome and he will be here on October 11," Santos said in a statement.

Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin had announced the visit on Friday, but said the date was still under discussion.

Santos said the visit by Abbas would not help sway him to change his opposition to the Palestinian bid for full UN recognition, saying a Palestinian state should only be recognized through a negotiated solution with Israel.

Colombia has said it would abstain in any Security Council vote.

"Colombia supports the right of the Palestinians to have their state and Colombia hopes this will come as a result of an agreement between the parties, so they can truly live in peace," Santos said.

The Security Council has taken up the request for full recognition of a Palestinian state over the vehement opposition of Israel and the United States.

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Thursday that eight members of the Security Council had pledged to approve the bid, one shy of the nine votes needed to advance it to the General Assembly.

Britain, France, Germany, Bosnia and Portugal have so far not revealed which way they will vote, while the United States has said it would veto the move -- which would effectively kill it in the Security Council.

Colombia is a traditional regional ally of the United States, which has supported Bogota in the fight against rebels and drug-trafficking with aid worth some $6 billion since 2001.


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